Los Angeles Business Journal

Mayor Takes Steps to Cut Permit Red Tape

By Howard Fine Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday ordered the city’s planning and building and safety departments to consolidate key functions and take other steps to cut red tape for developers.

When he took office last summer, Garcetti halted a merger of the planning and building and safety departments, saying he wanted to take a closer look at the issue.

“We took a deep look at both departments and now we’re moving forward with reform that makes sense instead of just combining departments for the sake of combining departments,” Garcetti said in Tuesday’s announcement.

Garcetti ordered the two departments to co-locate staff in “development service centers” at city offices downtown and in Van Nuys, with the option of opening similar service centers in South Los Angeles and West Los Angeles. He also ordered the streamlining of processing and timelines for some permit applications.

Later this week, Matrix Consulting Group is expected to release a report commissioned by the city with recommendations for further streamlining of the permitting process in these two departments, as well as for development-related permits considered by the transportation, public works and fire departments.

This will be the latest in a long line of proposals to streamline the city’s cumbersome permit approval process, which developers and business advocates see as a block to job creation and building more housing in the city.